A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction
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A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction (Discworld #10.5, 14.5, 16.5, 23.5, 37.5 inc)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  1,239 ratings  ·  200 reviews
In the four decades since his first book appeared in print, Terry Pratchett has become one of the world's best-selling and best-loved authors. Here for the first time are his short stories and other short form fiction collected into one volume. A Blink of the Screen charts the course of Pratchett's long writing career: from his schooldays through to his first writing job o...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 29th 2012 by Doubleday (first published October 11th 2012)
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Good Omens by Terry PratchettNation by Terry PratchettThe Carpet People by Terry PratchettDodger by Terry PratchettThe Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett
Non-Discworld Pratchett
6th out of 16 books — 8 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleA Discovery of Witches by Deborah HarknessA Clash of Kings by George R.R. MartinA Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
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What kind of a fan am I that I hadn't bothered searching out all of the assorted publications that this collection of stories had previously been published in? I should probably had in my membership card. Only I made i...more
JD Newick
Covers the whole of his career, some Discworld related, some not. The earliest stories date back to Pterry's teenage years, and are amateurish if promising- The Picture was probably my favourite of his juvenilia. Another favourite was Glastonbury Tales, a Chaucerian poem about picking up hitchhikers on the way to Glastonbury Festival in 1977.

Of the later non-Discworld stories, Turntables Of The Night is a great piece featuring Death (apparently the Death of Good Omens, rather than the Death of t...more
As the title says, this book collects all of Terry Pratchett's short stories, both Discworld and otherwise.

The first story in the book is also the oldest, first published when the author was just 13 years old. You can tell immediately that it's Terry Pratchett, and despite his own misgivings about the story, a Pratchett at age 13 still writes a better story than I ever could.


Ahem... jealously aside, this first story has more than a hint of Good Omens in it, and has all the wit that you...more
I am not normally a fan of short stories but for Terry Pratchett I am prepared to make an exception. I really enjoyed reading these and at several times laughed out loud (as a teacher the medical disorder of the attention seeking pupil was spot on and very funny). What was most fascinating about these was to see the early germs of an idea which were later developed into full length books (Truckers and The Long Earth). I really enjoyed the non disc world writings particularly the author who kille...more
Richard Wright
I felt an overwhelming sense of crushing disappointment as I started working through the first few stories and articles in this book. I love Pratchett, and had high hopes. However, the pedestrian comic tales I found, with nothing to distinguish them from any decent (but not great) humourist, let me down in a way Pratchett never had before. They weren't stories that really deserved to be collected together - this was obviously a vanity project, riding off his name rather than the worth of the con...more
Paul Cheney
I have been a fan of Pratchett for a long while now, and have read almost all of the Discworld books and some, but not all, of his collaborations with other authors. I have read very little of his short stories, but thankfully with this collection this has now been resolved.

The best way to think of this collection is as a box of rocks. But as you read these, it dawns on you that even though they are a little rough looking, they are actually uncut gems and carry the potential thoughts and ideas...more
Of course I had to buy this when I saw it in the shop. I've read too many Pratchett novels not to give a chance to his short stories. But he himself states, several times in fact, in the book that short stories are not his thing. And it does show.

The Discworld short stories were all snicker-worthy but not especially good. Most of them would've been even boring if I didn't know the Discworld characters as well as I do. I guess similar stories do appear in the novels, too, but there is always the...more
Where to start - the best place is probably with the forward. It's a sign of how well respected Sir Terry Pratchett has become that it doesn't seem incongruous that the forward is written by A. S. Byatt.

The stories themselves consist of short pieces from throughout his career, right from the very first story he had published (and I'm jealous that a thirteen year old could write that well - my writings at that time seemed to consist of trying to sneak rude words past my teachers!)

The early work...more
Matthew Lloyd
A Blink of the Screen is an interesting collection. It emphatically does not use the phrase "short story" in its title, as this would be misleading; so, too, perhaps, is "fiction", as there are a number of things collected here which do not have the narrative that implies - perhaps "collected untruths" would be better. But then, what is truth? Ultimately, "non-novel-length writings" might be the most appropriate title for what this collection contains.

The volume is divided into two groups: the D...more
Peter Auber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Sarll
Not entirely finished - I'm saving two of the Christmas stories for December, but they add up to about 15 pages. There's juvenilia here, and squibs, but even those are of interest in places - and the rest is Pratchett, exploring the Discworld in more depth or giving us all-too-rare glimpses of other worlds he could have created had he not devoted so much of his talent to that one great achievement. Variable, but very valuable.
K.V. Johansen
Outstanding! Every Pratchett reader needs this in their collection. There are some familiar short pieces in here, like Troll Bridge, and other things very few will ever have seen, including some juvenilia that leaves no doubt he's a genius, a short story that shows what The Long Earth should have been, and a great revisiting of Chaucer on picking up hippie hitchhikers.
I'm steadily reading (and re-reading) every last bit of Discworld. So naturally I picked up Terry Pratchett's collected short fiction as soon as I saw it in our local library. The second half of the book has some great Discworld stories and paraphernalia. A good read for any Discworld fan.

I was surprised by the high quality of Pratchett's other shorter fiction--even his very early teenage forays into the genre. I've appreciated Dodger and Nation, as well as the Truckers saga and the new Long Ear...more
Niki Vervaeke
heel mooie verhalen tussen, en de discworld verhalen zijn super!


In the four decades since his first book appeared in print, Terry Pratchett has become one of the world's best-selling and best-loved authors. Here for the first time are his short stories and other short form fiction collected into one volume. A "Blink of the Screen" charts the course of Pratchett's long writing career: from his schooldays through to his first writing job on the Bucks Free Pr...more
A bit of a nostalgia trip for me -- I remember someone emailing me "Theatre of Cruelty" when it came out, and saving up to buy Legends just for "The Sea and Little Fishes". Pratchett's early work is the real gem in this -- seeing how he developed as an author is quite inspiring, particularly having the guts to put up his juvenilia. Great inserts of the Kirby drawings. 4.5 stars -- the squibs and things in the DW section aren't particularly edifying, and Byatt's introduction is horribly elitist a...more
Koen Crolla
This is a nice collection of short fiction. A couple of stories still have rough edges (I mean, the first one goes back to 1963), but it's nice to see the early work that turned into the Bromeliad trilogy, The Long Earth, and Discworld itself, and a lot of them are compelling as more than just historical curiosities.
With the declining quality of Pratchett's new fiction, it's nice to have a reminder of how good a writer he used to be, and Discworld is so huge now it's easy to forget how much bett...more
When I saw this book in the bookstore I just had to get it so I ordered it online when I got home. And wow, I loved it.

Ok not everything, but most of the short stories were absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed them. Some I skipped though, mostly because they just didn't interest me that much.

I can say I loved, loved, loved the Discworld short stories. Finally we get all those older characters again, The witches, Death, the UU and more. All characters that I miss so much, characters for which I k...more
Edward Swalwell
Fantastic collection of short stories neatly showing the development of Pratchett as a writer, with introductions from the man himself.

I particularly liked the 50% of the stories that were not Diskworld, as whilst I love the Diskworld itself, I find that the novels do it justice (and most of the Diskworld short stories feature characters developed in depth elsewhere).

His non-Diskworld stuff had a much more significant chance to surprise - as the characters were unknowns - and each of them deli...more
Patrick Lum
Though Pratchett is primarily known for his long-form Discworld novels, his collected short fiction is at least as entertaining both in its own right and for the insight it provides into the development of his novels. Not only are his very early, very first pieces of fiction to be found here, but also various prototypes as to many of his future series - predecessors to Truckers, to The Long War and (of course) to various stories set on the Discworld may be found scattered around. I also rather e...more
Pratchett completists should jump on this, but otherwise I think I'd be irritated to pay full hardcover or audio price for a collection with so much juvenilia and so many punchline stories. I mean, his drabbles and short shorts and poems are often quite good – "They don't teach you about death, your mom and dad. They give you pets," – but still. Oh, and the A.S. Byatt introduction is awful, because apparently she can be judgmental and dismissive of genre fiction while she's talking about genre f...more
This collection reawakened in me a passion that I've had for more than half of my life now, one that has never truly lain dormant. It is, of course, mainly curios. Much of the non-Discworld material is good, and it's fun to read a story by a thirteen year old Pratchett, but the shorter newspaper pieces are mere indulgences.

The Discworld pieces themselves are mostly supplements, and the best three are front loaded: "Troll Bridge" is a predictable Cohen piece, though none-the-worse for it; "Theat...more
Absolute must-read for Terry Pratchett fans - I tore right through it in about a day!

The stories are all good and bite-sized, which personally I like, though if you prefer longer stories you might find it disappointing. I like the chronological arrangement - you get a nice feeling for his career/his writing style and how it developed.

A couple of highlights:

Rincemangle, Gnome of Even Moor: early version of Truckers - and also an early version of Rincewind's name.

The High Meggas: early version of...more
I'm a huge Discworld fan and I never got a chance to buy the limited print "Once More with Footnotes" so I jumped at the chance when I knew there was another Discworld anthology coming out.

This anthology comprises Discworld and non-Discworld stories. I only read the Discworld stories I hadn't read before, so this is only a small selection of the wonderful stories in this book.

The Ankh-Morpork National Anthem - who knew the city had a national anthem? The story tells about how it was created by...more
As seen on The Everyday Reader

I still haven’t made my way through the whole of the Discworld, but have been picking up Terry Pratchett’s work on and off as the mood strikes me for nearly 7 years now and am still constantly astounded (and overjoyed) by the combination of wit and intelligence in his writing. A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction offers real die-hard Discworld fans a chance to see some of the more obscure odds-and-bobs he’s produced, while the rest of us can soak in some...more
I'm a big Pratchett and Discworld fan and have been waiting for a short story collection for a long time. I've read a few of these but most were new to me.

There's a lot to enjoy and a few real gems scattered throughout a pretty solid collection. I (surprisingly) found the non-Discworld tales the most interesting. It's amazing how different he sounds in some stories, especially in the excellent 'The High Meggas'. I've not read the Long Earth yet but this captivated me and now it's a definite read...more
Spotted this in the library on my way back from the dole office. It was an obvious pickup.

First off, introduction by AS Byatt. Oh dear, not a good start - she picked the English short stories that I didn't rate too highly in my last library book, so I am immediately irked. Luckily that doesn't last long, as the intro is a handful of pages long. The first story is the first thing Pratchett ever had published, aged fourteen or fifteen, and even in that early work (which is, like a number of the ot...more
I am not a great fan of short stories, as I consider that only a longer novel enables you to immerse yourself into an adventure and the world that surrounds it. However, most of the stories in this book are simply excellent.

I could not help but laugh or smile several times when reading the plays of words of Sir Terry Pratchett. The book is divided in half, the first being general short stories while the later half contains only stories related to the Discworld. I enjoyed both, although for diffe...more
Terry Pratchett isn't really known for his short fiction, so it was interesting to find a collection of shorts that spans his career, from the very first story that he sold (at the tender age of thirteen) to the latest from the Discworld.

I found the non-Discworld stories almost more interesting than the DW stuff. The first story here is the first one he sold, as a teenager, and while it's obviously juvenalia, it's much better than anything I could have written at thirteen! There are stories writ...more
As a fan who often wonders just how some of his ideas managed to play out quite as they did, this was a good read. I had come across two of the stories in comic fantasy collections I have read before, but I missed "Once More With Footnotes", so this is as close as I will probably get now. The Hollywood Chickens raises a chuckle (geddit?) every time I read it, and so do the two bigger Discworld stories (Sea and Little Fishes, and what I can only remember as "the one with the puppet show and Carro...more
As with any short writings collection this has it's ups and downs. But for a Pratchett fan (not necessarily for a Discworld fan, though) this is actually quite interesting, as we get to see his progress from his early writings to latter stuff so well crafted as "The Sea And Little Fishes" (I really think it was not by coincidence that "A Blink of The Screen" ends with an "out-take" of that story - to me one of the best character based pieces Pratchett has ever written in any format).

This is a ve...more
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Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel,...more
More about Terry Pratchett...
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1) Mort (Discworld, #4) Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) Night Watch (Discworld, #29)

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“Firstly,” said Ponder, “Mr Pessimal wants to know what we do here.”
“Do? We are the premier college of magic!” said Ridcully.
“But do we teach?”
“Only if no alternative presents itself,” said the Dean. “We show ‘em where the library is, give ‘em a few little chats, and graduate the survivors. If they run into any problems, my door is always metaphorically open.”
“Metaphorically, sir?” said Ponder.
“Yes. But technically, of course, it’s locked.”
“Explain to him that we don’t do things, Stibbons,” said the Lecturer in Recent Runes. “We are academics.”
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